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Behind the Scenes: O's Editors Take Beauty's Latest Innovations Out for a Spin
In this month's "Adventures in Beauty", the O beauty team—director Valerie Monroe, executive editor Jenny Bailly, and associate editor Alessandra Foresto—test-drive nine products and treatments (like skin-plumping fillers, threading, and "comfortable" waxing) to determine whether they make the O grade. It had been two years since the editors' last big beauty road test—Monroe decided the time for a sequel was now. "This is an important story for us," she says. "The only way we can be confident we're making good recommendations is to try things ourselves."
Since the beauty team is constantly on the lookout for groundbreaking techniques, each editor had already picked a few favorites by the time they sat down to plan the story. "I heard about a new spray tan for darker-skinned women and was immediately interested," says Monroe. "Our Latina and African-American readers might not know this product is out there." Foresto, whose skin is a natural bronze, gave it a try. "I thought my clothes would get stained, my skin would be smelly and orange—but nope. I loved it!" Foresto had only one reservation about her new tan: She'd have to pose in a bikini in the magazine to show it off. "I did some extra workouts the week before," she says with a laugh.
When choosing her own adventure, Monroe wasn't exactly dying to have a Restylane-filled needle stuck into the tiny wrinkles around her lips—but in the spirit of investigative journalism, she took the plunge. "I'm sure some O readers might want to try fillers but are wondering, "Will it hurt? Is it worth the money? Will it make me look like a duck?" she says. "So I had to do it."
O photo director Katherine Schad set out to capture that sense of exploration. "I wanted the story's images to be cheery, like the editors were going on a whirlwind trip," she says. So on the day of the shoot, stylists brought in an apple red Schwinn and props in candy-bright colors. On set, Foresto and Bailly pedaled and struck joyful poses, while Monroe perched on the bike's small carrier. The photo team also enlisted the help of a playful Jack Russell terrier, Jonesy. Toward the end of the day, when Bailly's 19-month-old son, Henri, stopped by, he and the terrier stole the show. Henri toddled around after Jonesy crying, "Doggie!"—and, eventually, ran right out of his pants. "We were all laughing; it was a fun cap to a long day," says Foresto. For their hard work, Henri and pup were given a bundle of sunny yellow balloons and a dab of peanut butter, respectively.
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